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Taliban Say They Freed Two Western Hostages

Taliban Say They Freed Two Western Hostages

Tuesday, 19 November, 2019 - 09:30
In this May 3, 2019, photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks on the last day of the Afghan Loya Jirga meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Taliban said on Tuesday they have freed two hostages, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — in southern Afghanistan, ending more than three years of their captivity.

A Taliban official said the release took place on Tuesday in the province of Zabul in the Now Bahar district, a region that is largely under Taliban control, the Associated Press reported.

It wasn’t immediately known if the two hostages, both professors at the US University of Kabul, were handed over to Afghan government representatives, intermediaries, or US forces.

Their freedom came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners.

The three included Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also leads the fearsome Haqqani network.

It appears the Taliban had refused to hand over the two professors until they received proof their men had reached their destination.

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